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Involuntary Witness: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 1 | [Gianrico Carofiglio]

Involuntary Witness: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 1

A nine-year-old boy is found murdered at the bottom of a well near a popular beach resort in southern Italy. In what looks like a hopeless case for Guido Guerrieri, a Senegalese peddler is accused of the crime. Faced with small-town racism, Guido attempts to exploit the esoteric workings of the Italian courts. The voice of Sean Barrett brings this gritty Italian detective series to life.
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Publisher's Summary

A nine-year-old boy is found murdered at the bottom of a well near a popular beach resort in southern Italy. In what looks like a hopeless case for Guido Guerrieri, a Senegalese peddler is accused of the crime. Faced with small-town racism, Guido attempts to exploit the esoteric workings of the Italian courts. The voice of Sean Barrett brings this gritty Italian detective series to life.

©2005 Gianrico Carofiglio (P)2011 Audible Ltd

What the Critics Say

“Hard-boiled and sun-dried in equal parts. Where Philip Marlowe would be knocking back bourbon and listening to the snap of fist on jaw, Guido Guerrieri prefers Sicilian wine and Leonard Cohen. The role of Guerrieri is to take on impossible cases that have little chance of success. His efforts to prove his client's innocence bring him into dangerous conflict with Mafia interests. Everything a legal thriller should be.” (Financial Times)

''At one level an exciting courtroom thriller, but what places it in a superior league is the portrayal of a slice of Italian society not normally encountered in crime fiction and an immensely appealing flawed hero." (The Times, London)

What Members Say

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  •  
    mindusq san francisco 09-23-13
    mindusq san francisco 09-23-13 Member Since 2008

    Typical cat lady: lazy, sings off-key, craves spicy bloody marys.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Kinsey Milhone Meets Rusty Sabich in Italy"

    That title doesn't make much sense, but, like a rich Italian entree, I'm trying to figure out all the ingredients that made this short novel so enjoyable to listen to. The writing is precise and introspective, the tone is self-deprecating, the atmosphere, urban with a splash of European beach culture. The narration (not an Italian accent) is seductive, chiseled and intimate.

    The story is besides the point...this is a character study squisito with Milhone-style details (instead of pulling on jeans and a sweatshirt, our protagonist slips into soft Italian loafers). Avvocato Guido shares his meals with us along with his embarrassments, unromantic notions and Italian points of law. Veramente buono!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Chavez Huntington Beach, CA USA 08-09-12
    P. Chavez Huntington Beach, CA USA 08-09-12 Member Since 2005
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    "Slow, but interesting"
    Any additional comments?

    If this novel is typical, there is a big difference between U.S. and Italian crime novels. Do not expect anything like “Lincoln Lawyer”. The actual crime and trial are secondary to the musings of the main character, Attorney Guido Guerrieri, And it seems that attorneys in Italy prepare for trial ONLY by reading the information given to them by the prosecuting attorney and police without doing any interviewing of witnesses or investigating on their own before trial. It’s very odd. Actually, frustrating is a better word.
    I thought that since this is the first book in a series the author had decided to use most of novel introducing the reader to Guido, and you do grow to like him. He often mentions American books, music and art. He is finding himself after a divorce. But now I have started the second book, and more is being revealed about Guido, I am thinking that these books are more about how this man thinks, his humor, his self awareness and how he conducts himself within the legal system, then solving any “crime” or winning any trial.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 12-18-13
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 12-18-13 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

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    "Tedious - zzzzzzz."

    There's an interesting but very tiny and inconsequential courtroom thing hidden inside of this interminable character study of a character that wasn't worth the study. And the level of detail… AAARGH! I really didn't care what the guy wore out of the house to a plot-useless meeting. If you like walking beaches for hours on grey days to find shells… Well, do that. This book will still bore. ZZZZZZ…..

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia COLUMBUS, OH, United States 01-23-14
    Patricia COLUMBUS, OH, United States 01-23-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too much coffee and cigarettes, not enough action"
    What did you like best about Involuntary Witness? What did you like least?

    You have to start with the fact that the book was written in Italian and that it's somewhat dated. So that excuses some of its shortcomings. The protagonist is a lawyer representing a client accused of murdering a child. The interesting part is that the book gives insights into the Italian court system and Italian countryside. (I'm going to Italy, which is why I bought it.) But the resolution of the case relies on supposedly insightful techniques that are old hat to anyone who watches Law and Order, CSI, Major Crimes -- you get the idea. Plus, about half the book is not dedicated to the case at all, but to the emotional problems of the lawyer after his wife leaves him. He goes for coffee, he lights a cigarette, he lights another cigarette, he has more coffee. It gets tedious.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. O. Pardue Atlanta, GA United States 12-17-13
    L. O. Pardue Atlanta, GA United States 12-17-13 Member Since 2010

    I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Legal Series set in Italy"

    I enjoyed this audio book immensely. It is a well-written view inside of the criminal legal system in Italy. The author, Gianrico Carofiglio, has set up this series as an exploration of impossible criminal legal cases managed by an lawyer that hates injustice. This series cannot be described as a thriller or police procedural. But still, it was fascinating and easy to follow. I especially loved that:
    1) I got a real feel of an ordinary life in Italy. I didn't even notice that the trial didn't start until the latter part of the book.
    2) The attorney, Guido Guerrieri, is written so brilliantly. He is deeply flawed, but I was often moved by his kindness and fight against injustice. His inner thoughts are spot on as well as very humorous. I look forward to getting to know Guerrieri better as I read more books in this series.
    3) The narration by Sean Barrett is so good. He got me emotionally involved in the characters, especially the Senegalese client, Abbou. This series would lose some of its appeal with another narrator. Thankfully, Mr. Barrett continues the series as far as I can see.
    If you enjoy legal stories (as in Grisham or Turow), give this book a try. I think you will be very pleased.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark MENDON, NY, United States 12-02-13
    Mark MENDON, NY, United States 12-02-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Non-story!"

    There's a case with incredibly weak circumstantial evidence, but for no apparent reason everybody acts as if it is decisive, damning evidence. No new evidence or insights come to light, and the defense lawyer wins the case by pointing out... that it's incredibly weak circumstantial evidence. And, oh yeah, we never learn the least hint of how the crime was actually committed! None!

    On the side, there's a separation from the lawyer's wife, and a prospective new love interest. Fighting and winning this dumb case helps the lawyer recover from his separation.

    The writing style is good, and Sean Barrett's performance is great, but there's no content of any interest or entertainment value! I cannot imagine who would like this!



    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet H. Maddox Atlanta, GA 09-19-13
    Janet H. Maddox Atlanta, GA 09-19-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Entertaining Mystery, Italian Justice"

    Guido Guerrieri is a fascinating character, a nicely flawed reluctant hero. While working his way through his own problems and weaknesses, he manages to engage the reader with his style and grace, and to remain a thoroughly nice guy while rescuing his client from false charges. The glimpse into the Italian system of justice and way of life adds a special interest.

    I recommend the book to those who like fully realized characters and who like solving puzzling cases. The story and the narration were both enjoyable. I plan to continue the series and I am pleased to have found these books.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer PITTSBORO, NC, United States 04-02-12
    Amazon Customer PITTSBORO, NC, United States 04-02-12 Member Since 2009

    Audio books changed my life and they become more important with each passing year for me. My favorite categories include history, biography, and both classic and modern police procedurals.

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    "From a Committed Carofilglio Fan"
    If you could sum up Involuntary Witness in three words, what would they be?

    If this were a theater performance, one would be sitting at the edge of one's seat, biting nails. The attorney/investigator takes breathtaking risks, but in an intelligent, purposeful search for the truth.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The pace, the rhythm, and sequencing are perfect. So many of this genre overextend scenes or over-describe characters or jumble plotting for effect.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Barrett – was your favorite?

    The middle-aged, battle weary protagonist, who saves himself from utter cynicism because of his intrinsic decency and belief in justice.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The end, which I won't give away!


    Any additional comments?

    The seemingly realistic portrayal of the justice system in Italy, which like our own in the United States, is riddled with corruption and no longer serves individual needs because of the interference of the powerful and the privileged, was edifying without depressing this reader.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 07-30-14
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 07-30-14 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Fabulous Find!!"

    This book was such a surprise for me. I didn't expect to be so riveted to the mp3 player--I finished the book in a day and a half! This is an audiobook I really hated to end and it is a hard act to follow for my next book.

    Firstly, the narration is the best! Sean Barrett nails the main character, Guido Guerrieri, but without even needing an Italian accent. He also portrays the defendent, Abdou Thiam, impeccably. I will definitely seek our more books by this narrator.

    I really like this sort of story. I felt I really got into the head of the main character, that he was actually speaking to me. What some other reviewers found "tedious", I found compelling. I could have listened to the character, Guido, musing on about his life for a really long time; I found myself interested in it all! I loved his incidental relationships, too. Perhaps this is an indication of the narrator's skill and the author's talent combined. The author and the narrator are an unbeatable combination for me.

    I liked the story very much too. I could not imagine how all the circumstantial evidence and prejudices of the main players could be overcome. It certainly wasn't how I expected it to turn out. I also found the Italian justice system very interesting.

    All in all, this was a fun listening experience for me, much to soon over. I am definitely wanting more of Carofiglio and Barrett!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 05-21-14
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 05-21-14 Member Since 2012

    Enjoying one good listen after the next!

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    "A Different Kind of Court Room Drama!"

    Some might label this book "slow" but not me. I thoroughly enjoyed the telling of this tale. The "slowness" would come from the fact that the book provides an interesting personal history of the lawyer at the center of the storm and listeners discover that this particular lawyer can be both detached and emotionally involved in his cases; has remarkable psychological quirks just like the rest of us; and doesn't always enjoy or even like his work or colleagues. These inclusions in the story create a thread of interest that keeps the listener eager for more.

    This is not an action-packed court room drama that you may be used to hearing. But I found it very interesting, especially since it is set in the Italian court system.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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